The Isaac Bell House is definitely worth visiting to experience the best example of the "shingle style" ... More
Isaac Bell House (The)
The Isaac Bell House is definitely worth visiting to experience the best example of the "shingle style" architecture in this country. Designed by the famed architectural firm of McKim, Mead and White in 1883, the house boasts elements of Old English, European and colonial American design, and even a Japanese open-floor plan. Do not forget to notice the bamboo-style porch columns. Still being renovated to recapture its glory, the tour is considered a work in progress.
This mansion is the classic example of the shingle style, but it also offers unique ideas which could only come from very youthful architects, as were McKim mead and White in 1881.
The spaces are calm and elegant in a generous non-fussy, almost Shaker-like manner. The woodwork is straightforward, solid, smooth a whole generation before the American Arts and Crafts houses found mainly on the West Coast. The architects felt free to play with unusual ideas, such as using bamboo-like columns on the porch, the open plan shows their total emancipation from the Beaux-Arts. The materials are few, mainly wood and glass. Glass is used around a fireplace to reflect the burning fire, as well as in different shapes, thicknesses and colors.
I am not sure I would like this house as much if it were full of Victorian furniture, but as it stands now the flow of open spaces, the impeccably maintained woodwork, the varied quality of light are a great pleasure to experience.
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